Diablo Dish: October
Blackhawk Plaza welcomes foodies to try out new restaurants.
Photo by Nikki C. // Yelp.com
Those ducks at Blackhawk Plaza have new and improved leftovers to fight over. The tony Danville shopping center is swimming in new eateries, thanks to the debut of Ferrari’s, restaurateur Rodney Worth’s newest Italian venture; Blue Gingko, Philip Yang‘s latest Japanese restaurant; and Blackhawk Grille, which reopened in July after a months-long remodel. Those three new restaurants (Blackhawk Grille, in particular, has been drawing raves with its modern makeover and new bar, with a daily extended happy hour) join Worth’s Prickly Pear Cantina and Little Pear, Yang’s Roti8, and Chocolatier Blue chocolate shop to make Blackhawk Plaza an enticing destination for foodies.
Michael Karp is at it again. The co-owner of Table 24 and Barbacoa in Orinda is one of the people behind a new Neapolitan wood-fired pizza concept headed for Jack London Square. Forge will offer pizza, and plenty of other dishes, all cooked up in an imported Italian wood-burning oven. Bringing some street cred to the project is Jeff Krupman, aka the “Pizza Hacker,” who has made a name for himself in San Francisco by cooking up Neapolitan-style pies (in various quasi-legal street-side locations) in his makeshift oven named the FrankenWeber. Also on board as executive chef is former Gigi owner Jeffrey Amber. Look for a December opening.
That’s not all for Karp, who has formed his own restaurant group, Le Bon Temps, with architect and contractor Andy Byrnes, as well as local restaurant mogul Bob Burke. Burke brings big-time dining experience as a past president of Gordon Biersch Brewing Co., the former Piatti restaurant group, and the Pat Kuleto restaurant group (which oversees such award-winning restaurants as Boulevard, Farallon, and Jardinière). The Bon Temps trio is working on inking deals on five other East Bay projects, including restaurants in Alamo, Danville, and Walnut Creek.
Some bittersweet news for sweets lovers as a couple of favorite bakeries are changing hands. Teacake Bake Shop in Lafayette closed its doors. Good news is Teacake was set to be replaced by Cake, Brentwood-native Andrea Quinn’s new bakery that will sell custom-made, you guessed it, cakes. Quinn, a professionally trained pastry chef with stints at Chez Panisse, Rivoli, and BayWolf on her résumé, will also serve assorted daily baked goods such as scones, cupcakes, cookies, and empanadas, along with S.F.–based Sightglass coffee. In Walnut Creek, the owner of Walnut Creek Baking Company—and perennial Best of the East Bay winner—is no longer associated with the business. After being unable to come to a new lease agreement, Denise Vickers sold her stake in the bakery to her landlord, who will continue running the business under a different name, with his wife in charge.
Metro Lafayette has a new executive chef… again. Steve Jaramillo marks the restaurant’s fourth head chef in as many years, but the fourth time could be the charm, as the seasoned pro brings more than two decades of high-end East Bay cooking experience, including time at lauded restaurant Lalime’s and Fonda.
Has Alice Waters gone corporate? More like corporate has gone Alice Waters. The slow food grande dame announced a partnership with Hyatt to introduce an all-organic, seasonal, three-course prix fixe menu that will be offered to kids at all of the hospitality giant’s U.S. and Caribbean locations. Each ingredient on the menu comes exclusively from organic farms and ranchers across the country.